The Morning Vibe

21/03/13 -- The overnight grains are mixed with beans 10-12 cents higher and wheat and corn a couple of cents easier. It's been a while since beans have been the leader. Nearby May 13 doesn't appear to feel any more comfortable threatening to slip below the USD14/bu mark than it seems to fancy breaking USD15/bu, so I guess you could say we are range bound for the time being.

Today's weekly export sales report will maybe dictate where we go this afternoon. Bean sales are estimated at 6-800 TMT, with corn at 3-600 TMT and wheat 6-800 TMT. What we get for old crop will be of particular importance. Soybean commitments are already 97% of the USDA target for the season, can a little bit more blood be wrung out of the stone?

Late today we should also discover how much wheat Brussels has authorised for export in the past week. These are also running well ahead of expectations. Last week's 2012/13 all wheat volume cleared for export was 15 MMT. With 15 weeks of the 2012/13 season remaining exports now only need to average 300 TMT/week from here on in to hit the USDA's projection of 19.5 MMT for the year. If exports were to continue at last week's pace of 476 TMT/week for the remainder of the season then full 2012/13 shipments would top 22 MMT.

Interesting then today, following on from Algeria's 350 TMT purchase yesterday of what will probably end up being French wheat, that the leading French port of Rouen shipped 275,500 MT of grains in the week through to Mar 20. That's their busiest week since Nov 2011, according to Bloomberg. Of that total 220 TMT was wheat, with old mates Algeria taking almost 97,500 MT, Morocco 87 TMT, Tunisia 27,500 MT and the UK nearly 8,000 MT.

Amidst reports of Chinese demand for soybeans slowing, customs data released today reveals imports for just about everything save palm oil were down for the first two months of the year: Chinese Jan/Feb imports: corn 791 TMT -38% year-on-year; Soybeans 7.68 MMT -9%; Wheat 402 TMT -31%; Soyoil 158 TMT -41%; Palmoil 897 TMT +9%.

Closer to home the Spanish Ministry forecast the total wheat area for the 2013 harvest +2.4% to 2.22 million ha, say Bloomberg. However "persistent rains in southwestern Spain are maintaining wetness there and high disease threats for wheat," say MDA CropCast.

Nevertheless they've increased their EU-27 winter wheat production estimate by 1.7 MMT from last week to 130.5 MMT, an increase of almost 3% on last year. Their EU-27 barley production estimate by 0.6 MMT to 54.2 MMT, with OSR output up 0.72 MMT from last week to 18.56 MMT.

China are this morning said to have formally approved rapeseed imports from Australia after a 4-year ban. That's been on the cards for some time.

Another recent persistent rumour confirmed: China's Sinograin are to sell "more than 1 MMT" of state-owned soybean reserves.

Russia's grain exports are said to be down 32% vs last season for the marketing year to date at 13.96 MMT.

Early spring plantings in the Russian North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts are currently said to be 317,500 ha, 88% of winter crops in the region are said to be rated good/fair.

Ukraine spring plantings are complete on 480,000 ha, or 16% of the planned area, according to the Ag Ministry there. They say that 91.6% of winter grains are in good to satisfactory condition.